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Panel seeking site for proposed regional high school to meet for first time

MADAWASKA, Maine — Members of the newly formed Valley Unified Regional Educational Facility Site Selection Committee are slated to hold their first meeting on Dec. 20 at the St. John Valley Technology Center.

During the 6 p.m. meeting, the group, including three members just picked by the Madawaska School Committee, will discuss bids from five engineering firms vying for the contract to help review and assess potential sites for a proposed new regional high school to serve three area school administrative units.

In August, the Valley Unified Board — representing the Madawaska School Department and Maine School Administrative Districts 27 and 33 in the Fort Kent and Frenchville areas — learned that the Maine State Board of Education selected its proposal to build a regional pilot consolidated school. The school administrative units are now trying to find the optimal location while continuing the process of securing up to $100 million from the state to build the facility that would combine three existing high schools, integrate technical and career training, and include some post-secondary education aspects.

In October, members of the Valley Unified Board approved a site selection process that created a committee made up of members from all of the communities to be serviced by the regionalization efforts. The site selection committee is comprised of nine diverse community members, three business partner representatives, two university representatives, and three Valley Unified Board members.  

By the end of November, all of the committee members had been selected except for three — the community members at large to represent the Madawaska School Department. On Dec. 10, the Madawaska School Committee finalized its picks — Lester Ouellette, Paul Cyr, and Christopher Braley.

With the official election of these three members, all of the 17 seats of the selection committee have been filled. The MSAD 33 board chose Ryan E. Pelletier and Danny Bechard, and MSAD 27 chose Suzie Paradis, Lana Vosine, Jacob Theriault, and Keith Jandreau.

The three business partner representatives, one from each school system, were appointed by agreement among the superintendents and are Mark Chamberland with RF Chamberland representing MSAD 33, Douglas Cyr with Irving Woodlands representing MSAD 27, and Doug Cyr from Twin Rivers Paper representing the Madawaska School Department.

The higher education representatives selected are Tim Crowley, president of Northern Maine Community College, and Scott Voisine, dean of community education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

And finally, the school boards of each school administrative unit appointed one school board member each to serve on the panel — Gerard Castonguay for MSAD 33, Sarah Ashley for MSAD 27, and Robert Poiesz for the Madawaska School Department.

In October, officials with the Valley Unified Regional Service Center posted requests for proposals for engineering and architectural services with a Nov. 30 deadline for submission.

On Dec. 20, the site selection committee will gather with Gerald Clockedile, the strategic planning consultant who has been working with the the Valley Unified Board, to review and discuss the five proposals that were received. Firms that submitted proposals are: Lavallee/Brensinger Architects, based out of Boston and Portland; Lewis and Malm Architecture of Bucksport; Oakpoint Associates of Biddeford; PDT Architects of Portland; and WBRC Architects and Engineers of Bangor.
More information about the regionalization efforts is available online at:

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